Law & Legal & Attorney Employment & labor Law

Federal Wage & Hour Act


    • All hourly based employees must receive at least the federal minimum wage per hour. As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The only exception is if the state minimum wage exceeds the federal minimum wage, in which case employers must pay the state minimum. Businesses that have employees who earn tips, such as restaurants, can consider those tips as a contribution to employees' hourly wages, but must still pay their employees at least $2.13 per hour.


    • The FLSA does not establish what constitutes as full-time work or part-time work, rather, this is an agreement made between the employer and employee. There are no rules about providing extra pay for employees who work night shifts or weekends. Additionally, there are no federal laws requiring breaks, rest periods or meals, with the exception that federally law does allow for employees to have pay during breaks of five to 20 minutes. There are also no federal requirements to pay employees for sick leave, vacation or holidays. The only true requirement regarding hours has to do with overtime and overtime pay.


    • Federal law sets a work week as 40 hours. Employers must provide any employee who works more than 40 hours in one work week with hourly wages of at least time-and-a-half his regular hourly wage for every hour worked over 40 hours. This overtime pay only applies to weekends or holidays unless the hours worked on those days puts the employee over the 40 hour work week. However, overtime pay regulations do not apply to employees who earn a salary wage that is equivalent to $455 per week or more.

    Youth Workers

    • The FLSA administers regulations when it comes to the employment of workers who are minors. There are restrictions to the amount of hours and the types of jobs minors can have, in order to protect their health and safety as well as allow them to place focus on their education. It's important to keep in mind that each state likely will have additional regulations that apply to the employment of youth workers. First, youth must be at least 14 years old to work. Restrictions on youth workers age 14 and 15 include can work outside school hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with the exception of the summer holiday when they can work until 9 p.m. These young employees cannot work more than three hours on a school day, eight hours on a non-school day, 18 hours in a school week, and 40 hours in a non-school week.

    Employee Rights

    • Employees who believe they have not received payment according to federal regulations can file a complaint or even a lawsuit. The process for filing a complaint differs in each state, so it is best to contact the Wage and Hour Division office in your state for information. Another option is to contact federal program's toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE. Private lawsuits can address two years of back pay (and three years worth in circumstances of willful violation), plus liquidated damages for the same amount, in addition to court costs and attorney fees incurred throughout the court process.

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